SPOTLIGHT ON DIVERSE LEADERS AND DIVERSE INVESTMENTS
Managing Director and Head of Funds for Comcast Ventures, Amy Banse is "a big believer in getting it done." With more than 20 years’ experience starting and investing in companies at Comcast, Amy has closed hundreds of deals, acquired multiple cable television networks, and launched several others.
At Comcast Ventures, Amy leads strategy for how best to invest fund capital and support our portfolio companies. In a world where many funds are chasing the best deals, Comcast Ventures stands out in its ability to leverage the Comcast NBCUniversal platform and foster relationships between startups and business units across the company.
IN HER OWN WORDS
As a busy working mother of four, I am the ultimate consumer. I love technology and am drawn to consumer-oriented and SaaS (Software as a Service) products that solve problems and make our lives better. Will it make a life easier, happier, more efficient? That, for me, is a threshold filter.
Starting a company today is easier now than it was 20 years ago. Initial startup costs are reduced thanks to software in the cloud and social network marketing.
The type of company I want to invest in has great founders, passionate teams, and products that solve a problem in a potentially transformational way. But I’m also looking for companies that understand the importance of diversity and work hard to establish an inclusive company culture from the get-go.
While it’s no surprise that still today, a majority of entrepreneurs we meet are men, it’s been refreshing to see a steady uptick of savvy, visionary female entrepreneurs come through our office doors.
Since 2011, Comcast Ventures has invested in a number of female-led companies, including:
BaubleBar, the go-to online destination for jewelry
Birchbox, a platform for conveniently navigating affordable beauty products
BlogHer, an online space for women to engage and learn from a like-minded community
Cuyana, a fashion brand that creates premium women's essentials.
Houzz, an online database for people in the process of building, remodeling, and decorating
KiwiCrate, child-focused e-commerce site to help the next generation explore, create, and innovate
Loverly, a one-stop online wedding shop
Catalyst For Diversity In Entrepreneurship
Comcast Ventures also has a dedicated fund designed to support entrepreneurs of color.
Run by William Crowder and Laurence (Lo) Toney, Comcast Ventures’ $20 million Catalyst Fund offers impactful opportunities for minority entrepreneurs. The Catalyst Fund has made direct and follow-on investments in nine tech startups with diverse founding teams. In partnership with Philadelphia-based DreamIt Ventures, the Catalyst Fund has successfully sponsored more than 33 minority-led start-ups since 2011 through the DreamIt Access Program, including 10 startups founded by women.